Friday, May 29, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - Monkeybuns

Krystal, operator of Monkey Buns, has been making jewelry all her life. She opened her Etsy shop over two years ago; last year she opened a supply store on Etsy, Monkeybuns Supplies. Right now, the store is empty. No wonder! She's been busy! I counted over 100 bracelets and cuffs in her jewelry shop, and that's just to adorn your wrist. But before you go visit her shop and blog, let me first introduce you to Monkey Buns.

  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
Monkeybuns


  • What types of products do you sell?
For the last 2 years I have primarily done bead woven bracelets and some stringing. Lately I've been broadening my creativity spectrum into wire jewelry, glass blowing and glass fusing.

  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
I would have to say that currently my favorite is my Lipstick Lady Bracelet.

  • How did you find out about Etsy? Where you a buyer before a seller?
After I had my son I was up a lot at night and surfed the internet. I was a buyer to start with and then I started making jewelry and refound Etsy.

  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?
I love my Etsy teams. I'd have to say that I'm most involved with JET(Jewelry on Etsy Team). They are a group of really talented and fun ladies and one gent.





I'm also a member of Cafemom, IowaEtsy , and Sateam [Starving Artists]
  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
You can also find my work at local craft fairs and MacNider Museum.

  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?


I did a lot of stringing with cheaper seed beads when I was a kid. In my teen years I did a lot of hemp necklaces. As a grown up jewelry maker, I have found a love in Delica and Toho seed beads.






  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
I took four years of photography and still struggle with photographing jewelry. I take great pictures of nature and people but jewelry is tricky. I use a light tent in the winter due to the lack of sun in Iowa. In the summer I use as much natural light as possible.

  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
I'm on Flickr

  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
I used to sell close to full-time when I stayed at home with my son. I currently teach preschool at a local daycare.

  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?


Marketing is tricky - you can spend a lot time marketing and not creating or you can create with little marketing. I tend to do marketing I enjoy. I love to Twitter and do Flickr. Beadspace is awesome for beadweavers.

  • Where can people find out more about you - do you have a blog, website, instant messaging account?
I have a blog that is mostly about Etsy.


OK, the storybeader's turn. My favorites are the cuffs that Krystal weaves. I love the look and idea of all those itsy-bitsy beads, making something so beautiful. I've started beadweaving, and found it's really hard to make something look random, like she does with her Harvest Bracelet (right). Think this is my favorite sort of clasp too. It's so organic and fits the piece so well. Good job, and a great price!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

On Vacation

Yes, I'll be away from my computer for about two weeks.
I've scheduled some posts with Blogger. In the meantime, enjoy the view.
This, I believe, is close to where I'll be: the southwestern coast of Ireland!

Isn't it just beautiful?!
Thanks to Richard Bradfield,
"Coumeenale Beach, Slea Head, Dingle.
Used for Ryan's Daughter, the movie by David Lean, 1970.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - Craftheart

Tina opened her Etsy shop in May 2006, and looks to be an experienced seller. I think her cards are adorable, but she also sells crocheted items and supplies. She has a bunch of cards for Father's Day - now's the perfect time to look for one. But first, read this interview and find out more about the seller:
  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
craftheart

  • What types of products do you sell?
crochet items (cotton washcloths, REACH cloths, frappe skirts, scarves, bookworms as bookmarks and also as cat toys). Greeting cards for all occasions as well as specialty seed cards, mini cards, etc. Misc craft and holiday items off and on

  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
today, i'd have to say its my bookworm cat toys (no eyes so that they are safe for the cats). I make these for the spca which is where I adopted my cat Babysocks a few months ago after losing my beloved Rajah this past christmas. So, the spca and cat toys have a special place in my heart.

  • How did you find out about Etsy? Where you a buyer before a seller?
I found out from a friend who has a shop, ndnchick. We knew each other on another crafting forum and she was talking about it LOTS, so i decided to join.

  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?






I am part of the etsy greetings team and also the homefront street team (hubby is retired military). I'd love to be more active with the teams, sometimes there is simply not enough time in a day.

  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
I have an account currently on artfire, but that's it for now other than at work where people will ask about my products and occasionally purchase something. I am craftheart on artfire as well.

  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
my gosh, i've dabbled in so many things. crochet, paper crafting, painting, sewing, cross stitch, ceramics, etc. crochet has always been my favorite. i was unable to crochet for years due to carpal tunnel syndrome, but had surgery about 6 years ago, and i'm good to go again. the crocheting is the most relaxing

  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
i have a flickr acount and also myspace. not there a whole lot. like i said, wish i had more time. craftheart on flickr and myspace is craftingheart.

  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
I'd like my photos to be a bit better actually. I don't consider myself a great picture taker. I used a light blue gray towel as a backdrop and take my photos by a window and also use a large light. I've found the "look" is nicer, more uniform when each photo has the same background color.

  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
i WISH i could do this full time. maybe some day. I'd really love to have a brick and mortar craft gift shop or booth one day. By day tho, I am an office manager in a chiropractic office with a doc who would shrivel up like a raisin if i were not there, lol

  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
the best tip has been passed on to me by a friend........promo promo promo. anywhere you can think of online and MOST DEFINITELY to everyone you talk to throughout your day in person. that part is hard, as i am a bit shy, so i hope to get better with that.

  • Where can people find out more about you - do you have a blog, website, instant messaging account?
my blog - (when i keep up with this i normally feature etsy sellers) no website at the moment. craftheart.com is taken :(



OK, the storybeader's favorite. I thought the seed cards were a really neat idea. There are a few to choose from, but I liked the watermelon the best. Click on the pic to get a really good view of this, and while you're at it, see Tina's other seed cards on etsy.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Etsybloggers Carnival - May 22, 2009


"Show and Tell: Summer Line"

I plan to weave one peyote stitch rope necklace each month till the end of the year. So my summer line will be in it's infancy come July. It's more of a summer challenge than anything else!

I've always loved the look of rope necklaces, and have tried a few techniques. To practice my stitching skills, I've been making key chains. There's a few for sale right now on Etsy and Artfire.

I finished my first necklace last month (yes, that's it up there!) and received some nice comments. But since they take many hours to complete, it will take a few months before I can offer a whole line!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

almost wordless wednesday

Green cameo brooch, reworked from vintage jewelry.
This piece is for the May Inspirational Challenge: "Grandmother's Jewelry Box"
Thanks to the Jewelry Artisan's Marketplace on 1000Markets.
http://www.1000markets.com/products/58577

Monday, May 18, 2009

May's Featured Etsyblogger - Createathought

One thing I noticed right away about Beth's work, is her love for buttons. But these buttons are not used as closures, for shirts or purses; they adorn her journals and cards. I love buttons too, so I had loads of fun, going through her Etsy shop.

For those of you who like to DIY, she has an "ART book journal kit" - great idea, very tempting! Here's a little bit of her description, from her shop page: "This is for a blank art journal and plenty of stuff to get you started including stickers, patterned paper, fabrics, some colored pens and markers, embellishments (flowers, buttons, brads), just tons O stuff!"















She also creates rings, magnets and pins. Being a jeweler, I had to go check out her rings. Here's her "got a little hippie in me" ring. Isn't this darling? Only $7.00, and it's adjustable!

And being an Etsyblogger, you know she has a blog. Very cute and colorful, and there's MORE buttons!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Blogfire Carnival - May 22, 2009

Great Gifts For Dad!

My jewelry shop doesn't have many gifts for men. I do sell unisex chokers, and have started with a new line of beaded key chains. The one on the top right (below) is mine. It's designed with small seed beads, using a tubular peyote stitch. There is a 1" silver ring, great for dad's house keys or car keys.


Here's a look at some other key chains you can find on ArtFire:

Top left: Yona also has southwestern keychains at her shop. I liked her "Beaded Elk Keychain," made with elk hide and czech beads.

Middle left: Lanza Creations uses aluminum links and silver rings

Bottom left: woodcraftsandcandles has the perfect keychain for the working man - a turned piece of wood for the body, that's really a compartment for two flat driver bits, a philips bit, and a scratch awl. Neat!

Bottom right: For a useful, photographic gift, Glass Identities takes a picture you send her and embosses it, making your keychain, or an id tag.

And in the middle, Horsewomann has a line of leather fobs, most have different designs stamped into them. This is one of my favorites, great for a dad in law enforcement... or from Texas.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - theRasilisk

Becky, owner and operated of the theRasilisk, opened her Etsy shop last fall. By the look at her sales, I'd say she know how to run a business! I've learned some interested things in her shop, like when Hairball Awareness Day falls - I kid you not! Most of her work is on paper, where she offers holiday and occasional cards, stationary, and prints. And because she makes greeting cards, there is a good selection of sale items, from passing holidays. Let's encourage her to start up a blog - I'm sure it would be loads of fun to follow!

  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
My shop is called theRasilisk


  • What types of products do you sell?
I mostly sell cards and calendars. Paper goods primarily. Though I am looking to expand more into the printable PDF market as well as freelance Graphic Design services. Put my degree to better use I guess.

  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
I think the item I like the most is a set of cards I designed called "Abstract Cards - Multicolored Skyscrapers or Time-Travel Rivers" I just really love how they turned out.

  • How did you find out about Etsy? Where you a buyer before a seller?
A friend of mine who was big into collage work a few years ago started a store and I went to check it out. I had never heard of Etsy and was definitely impressed. I had no idea anything like this was out there! I was a buyer first. It took me a while to get around to starting my own store, but I knew right away that I would eventually.

  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?
I am not. I haven't had much time between my full time job and Etsy to really investigate the teams just yet.

  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
Nope. So far just Etsy. I may be starting an Artfire store soon though. I will certainly mention it in my store front if I do!

  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?

When I was in high school I spent a lot of time working with clay as well as metal. I must have taken the Ceramics class like 10 times and the Jewelry/3d arts one at least 5 times. I also dabbled in drawing and painting, pen and ink, acrylic paints, markers, colored pencils, beads, sewing, wood-burning, rubber stamping etc. I am a art supply junky, so chances are if it's out there and not too terribly expensive that I've at least tried it. My favorite thing right now is carving linoleum block. I really enjoy the carving part, not as much as the printing with it part. I spend most of my efforts in the digital realm now though.

  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
I have an extremely shoddy set up in the corner of my bedroom that involves a tilted table covered in fabric and a bunch of desk lamps. I really need to come up with a better set up than that. I agree that product photos are really important and I am still working on improving mine myself. My tips, a good camera and the right kind of lighting are important. Even if I don't follow my own rules sometimes.
  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
I don't. Sorry!
  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
I have a full time job as a Graphic Designer at a pack & ship type store. I don't get a lot of design work there though.

  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
I don't know that I've had much luck in the marketing department. I do notice that when I participate in forums and when I bid on Project Wonderful ads, I get noticed more. It doesn't always lead to sales, but it usually lead people to my page. Half the battle right?


  • Where can people find out more about you - do you have a blog, website, instant messaging account?
I don't have a blog or website up currently, though I do plan to before the year ends. And when I do, it will be referenced in my shop.




OK, the storybeader's turn. Becky has a lot of abstracts on cards and some are very funny, but my favorite is her drawing of an owl. Very beautiful.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

almost wordless wednesday

Blooming Blossoms, by FairieRebecca
Isn't this just amazing? From FairieRebecca's flickr site. You can find this, and other neat things, in her Etsy shop.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blogging for Beads program

I first met Steve from Artbeads last month. I was a little surprised, and very flattered to receive his email. He came across Stroll Through Storyland in his search for jewelry designers who blog, and was wondering if I was interested in receiving free samples in exchange for blogging about their products.

I was skeptical at first, wondering what kinds of restrictions there would be. After talking back and forth a bit, I found there was no time limit or type of post Artbeads required. It seemed like a fair enough trade. So I went by and looked at the products they were offering, and fell in love with the handmade Russian pendants. This is the one I chose:
Isn’t it beautiful?


There are a group of similiar pendants available, all painted on rectangular pieces of onyx. Here’s one called “The Kiss,” based on a Gustav Klimt painting. Very romantic!

Saturday, I went into Etsy and found some beads to match my peacock. Can't wait to see them.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

Etsy Artisan Interview - Pumpkinseed Folk Art Originals

Here's a versatile artist you need to check out. Whether she's working with her paper or polymer clay, or painting her figurines and canvases, Janell's folk art are one-of-a-kinds. You'll definitely get a chuckle, looking through her shop. But I'm still wondering where the name "Pumpkinseeds" comes from - maybe she'll tell us in the comments!
  • What's the name of your Etsy shop?
Pumpkinseeds Folk Art Originals

  • What types of products do you sell?
I sculpt holiday figures from either paper clay or polymer doll clay, paint in acrylics on canvas or wood and do aceos [art cards].
  • Are you involved with any of the Etsy teams?
No, not currently. Hopefully I will do that in the future.
  • What is your favorite item in your shop today?
The slender paper mache bunnies [see below] and the octopus riding a whale sculpture.
  • How did you find out about Etsy? Where you a buyer before a seller?
Just messing around on the internet. I kept seeing the name Etsy. I was a seller before I actually purchased items.


  • Are there additional venues where you sell your work?
I sell my art through my own personal website at http://www.pumpkin-seeds.com

my blog
http://pumpkinseedoriginals.blogspot.com

and an online store called http://www.reasonstobelieve.com

  • Everyone knows images are important when selling on the internet. What's your procedure for taking photos of your products? Do you have any tips on taking better photographs?
I have always struggled with photos so I can't really hand out any advise except lighting is the most important part. Backgrounds are important as well. Purchase a good camera with excellent zoom and a light box. I enjoy using the light box because it really featuring your work best. I can't always use it due to space but for the smaller pieces its terrific.
  • Do you have an online photo storage site, where we can see more about you and your surroundings?
No, I do not use an online photo storage site. I just keep my photos on my computer and bunches on my own website. To view current info and photos I do use my blog. This is a very valuable tool that is just as important as my own site.

  • Over the years, what materials and mediums have you worked with? What's your favorite?
Mediums I have worked with have been paper clay, polymer and acrylics. I love them all but I would have to say when it comes down the wire its the paper clay that wins. Mostly because I enjoy painting on its surface and its very forgivable.

  • Are selling your products a full-time job, or do you have an additional occupation, outside the home?
Yes, this is a full time job. The only other job I have that I love is taking care of my family.
  • We are all looking for good marketing advice. What's the best tip or trick you can share with us?
Marketing is just as important as the art you create. If you do not market no one will see your work. No one sees you, no one buys from you. Join Etsy, use auction sites, post links. Visit appropriate stores you like and ask them if they would be interested in seeing your work. Send out your work to reputable companies and see if they have an interest. Do not wait for people to find you. Also post the best photos you can so that folks can see the details of your craft. Ask others if the photos are good. Get feedback. You might be surprised at what you hear.

  • Where can people find out more about you - do you have a blog, website, instant messaging account?
My blog is Pumpkinseedsfolkart.blogspot.com ,
website www.Pumpkin-seeds.com ,
Etsy shop Pumpkinseedsfolkart.etsy.com
[see above for all the links]





OK - my turn to pick. I definitely have a favorite. It has to be the ACEO (art card) Folk art Flower pot girl. Her technique, subject matter, and folk art appeal is so charming - I love it!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Etsybloggers carnival - May 8, 2009

I chose the Etsybloggers Carnival topic #1 to write on:
"Art vs Craft: Is it an issue / non-issue and how do you feel about the argument?"

I know people who wouldn’t be caught dead at a craft show, but will spend their last dollar to apply to an art show.

So what's going on here? Is there really a difference or is it semantics? Personally, I don't really care if people call my jewelry “works of art” or crafting. I just want them to like what I do. And of course, buy what I create.



Tulsa’s 13th Annual Art on the Square

After checking the dictionary, I've come to the conclusion that art is seen to be more cerebral than craft. This is what the American Heritage dictionary has to say:

ART: The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium.

CRAFT: Skill in doing or making something, as in the arts; OR an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or skilled artistry.

I also think the artist/crafter controversy has a lot to do with skill and money. Are you more skilled, as an artist? Many artists take courses to improve their competence and learn new techniques. But crafters take classes too, and seem to be even more open to experimentation.

Artists like to be able to show their pieces in art galleries, not craft stalls. And I can understand why - especially if this person is creating full-time. This is where finances come into play.

Online, I’ve been hearing a lot about the handmade movement. This is a great description of what used to be called the craft movement: artistic individuals creating art and marketing their wares, by themselves. Usually as a second job. Like myself.


I like the sound of handmade just fine!

Do you buy and sell on Etsy? Who do they appeal to? I’d like to know how others feel about art vs craft. It does seem to be a touchy subject among the people involved.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

almost wordless wednesday

Like to look around on Flickr. Saw this in the Photographers on Etsy Group Pool. Taken on April 17, 2009. Notice the red utility flags?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Abalone Birds

After completing my seed bead rope necklace two weeks ago, I decided to make a pendant to hang from the rope. Pictured above is the finished piece.

I used seed beads and abalone fetish birds, and sewed them onto leather. This took 4-5 hours, all together. Some of the white beads melted when I was burning the edges of the leather, but it gives the "clouds" a little depth, so I don't mind (I'm very particular about the items I sell!) Then I superglued a pin back onto the leather.

This is the first pin I've ever made. Do people still wear pins?

I had in mind to make memory wire bracelets for the Museum's gift shop this weekend. Decided a bracelet with the same colored beads would be nice; maybe sell the pin and bracelet as a pair. The turquoise I used is my favorite shade, a blue-green. Pin and bracelet together for $50. Sounds like a deal to me!

I haven't put it up for sale yet, so if you're interested, just contact me.
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